Jon Vest, an Extension Agent in Floyd County, provided the instruction for the workshop, as attendees learned about why it is a good idea to plant grafted apple trees.Pam Dudding Contributing writer
Many people still work with nature by hand. The Craig County 4-H Cooperative Extension continues to teach people about the craft of nature.
On March 29, the Extension hosted an apple grafting workshop for Craig County residents.
Jon Vest, an Extension Agent in Floyd County, provided the instruction for the workshop, as attendees learned about why it is a good idea to plant grafted apple trees.
“Apple varieties are grafted onto rootstock which is the lower portion of the graft and forms the root system,” he said. “The rootstock provided was dwarf variety (shorter) and more disease resistant.”
It was noted that these grafted trees do not grow as tall, are healthier and are of a height that makes it easier to pick the apples.
Many varieties of apples were available as the scion, which is a young shoot or twig of a plant, especially one cut for grafting or rooting.
Sarah Farrell from the Craig County Extension explained, “The scion produces the new buds and shoots for the tree which then produces the apples, and the rootstock and scion were cut with specialized grafting tools that created ‘bunny ears’ at the end of each stem to be grafted.”
The “bunny ears” then fit together like puzzle pieces and the grafted area was then taped with electrical tape and afterward, wax was applied.
Farrell also noted, “Interestingly enough, specialized grafting wax is not needed as Jon uses melted wax from the round wax ring used to install a toilet.”
After preparation, the grafted tree needs to be kept in a dark area and then transitioned to an area that is not in direct sunlight.
Jon recommended that the trees not be planted until fall as the summer months are too hot and will harm the developing tree.
If you are interested in participating in a future apple grafting workshop, contact the Craig County Extension Office at 540-864-5812.